In terms of arbitration cases, the Twins have had a pretty easy and low-key winter. We're used to them dealing with four, five, seven cases, but this year it's been just three: Glen Perkins, Francisco Liriano, and Alexi Casilla. It's no surprise then that Minnesota is well on its way to securing these players to one-year contracts.
Perkins, in his second arbitration-eligible season, gets a raise from $700,000 in 2011 to $1.55 million in 2012. He more than doubles his salary, but after the year he had he's now the only member of the bullpen who can be tabbed to have anything more than an "okay" season. The Twins need him to be healthy and effective.
Liriano, in his final arbitration-eligible season, gets a smaller raise. He made $4.3 million last season, and will earn $5.5 million in 2012. Assistant General Manager Rob Antony summed it up pretty well (from the Strib):
"It's important to us because if we want to win some games we need to have him pitch more like 2010,'' said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony, who negotiated the deals.
"The better the season he has the more attractive he is to us and to anyone else in case he ends up on the free agent market. It's a big year for him.''
It's difficult to tell what Liriano's future holds, especially in regards to how that future relates to the Twins. If he's absolutely terrible, or if he's one of the best five pitchers in the American League like he was in 2010, it's possible that he hits the open market. If he's somewhere in between, it's probably more likely that he could stay in Minnesota.
That brings us to Casilla, who is in his second arbitration-eligible season and is the only one of the three unable to reach an agreement before yesterday's deadline to exchange figures. While there's still time to negotiate, as of today they're a little ways apart: the Twins offered $1.065, while Casilla's camp has countered with $1.75 million.
Casilla hit .260/.322/.368 last season, with a pair of homers, 21 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 97 games. After making $865,000 in 2011, it's hard to imagine how that performance justifies more than doubling his salary, but it's also how the game is played.
Most likely, with roughly $700,000 separating the two sides, they will settle around the midway point prior to heading into arbitration. The Twins have a tendency to agree to a number slightly towards the player's side of the figures, so it wouldn't be unthinkable to see Casilla sign his one-year contract at $1.45 or $1.5 million.
Arbitration hearings take place between February 1 and February 21, which means the Twins and Casilla have a little bit of time to hammer out a deal.